Criminal Defense 101: What are Pre-Trial Motions?

Most criminal cases never go to trial. According to data provided by the Innocence Project, as few as three percent of criminal charges are resolved by a trial—and that number is still falling. With trials being as uncommon as they are, the pre-trial stage is “make-or-break” in many criminal cases. The proper pre-trial motions can be the difference between a case being dismissed and the prosecution gaining the upper hand. Here, our Rochester criminal defense lawyer explains the most important things to know about pre-trial motions in criminal cases.

What is a Pre-Trial Motion?

A pre-trial motion is an official legal filing that requests some form of ruling by the court. In general, pre-trial motions are used to ask the judge to make a decision on an important procedural matter. Both defendants and prosecutors have the ability to use pre-trial motions. They are extremely important because they are used to set the rules/boundaries for a case.

Most Common Pre-Trial Motions in Criminal Cases

If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges in Upstate New York, it is imperative that you know how to effectively use pre-trial motions to protect your rights. Here are three of the most common pre-trial motions used in criminal cases:

  • Motion to Suppress: The Fourth Amendment protects people against unlawful searches and seizures. If law enforcement officers obtained certain evidence illegally, you can use a motion to suppress to get that evidence excluded from the case. In some cases, the entire case will fall apart when unlawfully obtained evidence is thrown out.
  • Motion to Dismiss: State and federal prosecutors have to satisfy certain requirements when pursuing criminal charges. If they do not have probable cause to support the charges, you can take action in the pre-trial stage to get the charges dismissed outright. A motion to dismiss can be a valuable tool for defendants.
  • Motion to Discover/Release Evidence: As a defendant, you have the right to review the evidence being presented against you. Additionally, you have the right to access any evidence that may help prove your innocence. A motion to discover and/or a motion to release evidence can be used to make sure you have the time and information you need to raise a strong defense.

Pre-trial motions are complicated. As an experienced Rochester, NY criminal defense lawyer Robert King has the skills and knowledge needed to protect clients during this stage of the process. We will use all tools available to ensure that your rights are respected and you’re in the best position to defend criminal charges.

Call Our Rochester, NY Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

At King Law, our New York criminal defense lawyer is ready to take charge to protect your rights, freedom, and future. If you or someone you know was arrested and charged with a crime, we are here to help. Call our office today or contact us online for a confidential initial consultation. From our offices in Rochester, Syracuse, and Geneva, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Auburn, Oswego, Fairport, Lockport, Greece, Brighton, and Irondequoit.


May 26, 2022

When Are Property Owners Responsible for Personal Injuries?
Read More

November 17, 2023

New York Passes Clean Slate Act
Read More

August 31, 2022

Answers to Your FAQs About Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim
Read More

August 25, 2022

4 Rules When You Get Pulled Over for DWI in New York
Read More